Helga Hošková-Weissová

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Helga Hošková-Weissová, also Helga Weiss, (born november 1929) is a Czech artist, and a Holocaust survivor. Her mother Irena Fuchsova was a seamstress and her father Otto Weiss worked at the state bank in Prague. She was raised in Prague, and shortly after her tenth birthday on December 10, 1941[1] she and her parents were interned in the Terezin ghetto.[2][3] Although they were separated in the camp, it was eventually possible to see one another sometimes, and exchange clandestine notes.[2][3] It is estimated that 15,000 children (younger than 16) went into Terezin.[3] Less than 100 of the Terezin children deported to Auschwitz survived.[2]

In October 1944, aged 15, she and her mother were moved to Auschwitz. As new victims arrived, they were sorted... sent to the left for the ovens, right to live longer. The person sorting that day may have been the infamous Josef Mengele.[3] Whoever it was, Helga convinced him she was old enough to live longer, claiming to be 18, and was told to go to the right.[3] She also successfully claimed that her mother was younger than she really was.[4]

Using her gift for painting and drawing, while at Terezin Helga wrote a diary, including images from her life in the camps[4][5][1] which survived the war.[2][3] Her father said to her in december 1941, after she showed him one of her drawings, "draw what you see". She was held captive in what was called the girl's home in room 24. After ten days[2] she was transferred from Auschwitz to Freiberg near Dresden, an auxiliary camp of Flossenbürg labor camp[2] where she escaped death again when she was forced to join a 16-day "death march" to the camp at Mauthausen.[6] She remained there through the camp's liberation on 5 May 1945 by the US Army.

Her drawings are a testimony of the everyday life of jews in the camp.

After World War II ended, Helga went back to Prague, studied at the Academy of Fine Art, and was a student of the Czech artist Emil Filla[5][7] from 1950. She worked as an artist and raised a family.[3] After the revolution in November 1989, she exhibited her art many times both at home, and in Austria, Germany, Italy.[2]

In 1993 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, for her lifetime achievements. In 2009 she was awarded the Josef Hlávka medal. In October 2009 Vaclav Klaus presented her with the Medal of Merit.[8]

In February 2013, at age 83, Helga was living in the flat she was born in, the flat from which she was taken in 1944.[3] Her account of her experiences, "Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp", was published by W. W. Norton & Company on April 22, 2013.[4][6][9]


  1. ^ a b 1929-, Weissová, Helga, (1998). Zeichne, was Du siehst : Zeichnungen eines Kindes aus Theresienstadt/Terezín = Maluj, co vidíš, kresby jednoho dítěte z Terezína = draw what you see, a child's drawings from Theresienstadt. Niedersächsischer Verein zur Förderung von Theresienstadt/Terezín. Göttingen: Wallstein. ISBN 9783892443162. OCLC 40362598. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g From page of Jewish Museum, Prague: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2013-02-17.  accessed 17 Feb 2013
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h London Daily Telegraph, 16 Feb 2013, review section, pg 4.
  4. ^ a b c "Diary of schoolgirl who outwitted Nazi Angel of Death to become publishing sensation - Telegraph". 
  5. ^ a b "Holy Cross Hosts Exhibit Featuring Drawings by Holocaust Survivor Helga Weissova-Hoskova - College of the Holy Cross". news.holycross.edu. 
  6. ^ a b Thorpe, Vanessa; arts; correspondent, media (15 October 2011). "The schoolgirl who survived the Holocaust by fooling the Nazis" – via www.theguardian.com. 
  7. ^ "Helga Weissova-Hoskova, a Holocaust Survivor of Terezin, exhibits her artwork". isurvived.org. 
  8. ^ "Klaus udělil vyznamenání. Ocenil hrdiny z války, Gotta i žokeje Váňu". iDNES.cz. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  9. ^ Amazon listing

External links[edit]